Back to School Notes!

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Clinicians must start the year off on the right foot too

It seems like you can never miss parents and students scrambling to find the school supplies they need to start off the new school year. I can’t help but get sentimental thinking about how just a few short years ago, I was buying all of those supplies and giving my two sons advice before school started.

I’ve started to think about how this advice could be carried over not only to students, but to clinicians as well. These tips ring true no matter what setting you’re in — whether it be in school-based, home health or acute care.

Get a good night sleep: Studies show that we don’t get enough sleep as adults. The same is definitely true for children. There are actually certifications for “Sleep Coaching.” We should be getting between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. While this is unrealistic for many people, it should be a goal for most of us.

Eat a good breakfast: You need to put some fuel in the tank to have enough to get your day started. Studies show that children who don’t eat a good breakfast struggle in school. Why wouldn’t that be true for adults as well?

Come prepared: Every teacher I have ever met puts this reminder on their syllabus. You need to be prepared to do your job efficiently. Whether you are a student or clinician, there is no reason not to be prepared. This could be as simple as knowing a patient’s precautions or past medical history, or what treatment you are planning to work toward a certain goal.

Be a good communicator: Students are expected to communicate efficiently with their parents, teachers, school administrators and other students. When you are a clinician, you are expected to maintain a line of communication between you, your patients, their families, your therapy team and any other ancillary support you or the patient may have.

Take good notes: When you’re a clinician you need to be able to write good notes. It has never been more important than now to justify what we do with our patients, as well as the progress they make with our treatments. This can end up affecting reimbursement.

Time management: If your student has ever had a big project due, you have probably said the same thing I have: “Don’t wait until the last minute! Plan ahead!” I can’t stress enough how we need to plan ahead as clinicians.

We all have our favorite pieces of advice we give to our kids before the new school year starts. This year, let’s see if we can follow our own advice and kick off this school year making it one to remember.

Good luck, get moving and set yourself apart!

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About Author

Melissa Ricker, COTA/L, CSST, CWC
Melissa Ricker, COTA/L, CSST, CWC

Melissa Ricker works with acute and long-term rehab clients at Absolute Rehab in Canton, Ohio, at Altercare of Nobles Pond. She received the American Heart Association's "Lifestyle Change Award" in 2012 and is a "Wellness Champion" for her company's health and wellness program.

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